First Comes the Artists, then Gentrification…”What’s a Mother to do??!!”

The artists move into the industrial, run down part of town.  Rents are cheap, spaces are big. Cafes and bars start to open. The area becomes hip, creativity is flowing…and the lawyers move in. Nice restaurants and high end clothing stores open up.

Get 'em while they're hot!

The prices skyrocket. The artists are forced to move out, the Soul fades…ah, but it’s a good investment! The Condos pop up, get ‘em while they’re hot!

There are so many parts to this scenario that irk me, I don’t know where to begin!

First off, who created the value of this highly desirable place?  I’d say the artists.   I’d also say the suburbs are so boring, people are starved for soul, a “realness” with vibrant, alive streets. So we as a society get some of the credit, in a reverse kind of way.

The next think that irks me is how, in our mad rush for a great place to live, we end up doing great damage to  the very thing we love; … READ MORE >>

Entrepreneurship-Innovation from here on out

http://www.train-them-well.com/page42.htm

Collaboration!

Our times call for rapid prototyping social, economical, and ecological strategies so the emerging sustainable economy can….emerge! Many of the jobs being created from evolving technologies, don’t even exist yet. We are inventing the future as we travel forward.

Half of the hottest futurist jobs don’t even exist yet, according to Daniel Burrus, author of Technotrends and CEO of Burrus Research Associates. “We’re in the early stages of shifting gears into the e-society,” he says. “Virtually every part of an enterprise will be e-enabled, which includes connectivity, content, commerce, communication, collaboration, and community.”… READ MORE >>

BioChar-Carbon Sequestration and Soil Fertility

Black Soil, biochar, a special kind of charcoal, has been discovered in the Amazon jungles, as well as in Japan.  Tierra Preta,  as it is also called in Brazil, has amazing properties.  In the midst of large amounts of rainfall, where large quantities of biochar have been introduced into the soil, the soil’s fertility has lasted for centuries. This special kind of charcoal retains nutrients for plants and creates a most hospitable environment for microorganisms and has provided fertile soils for large populations in the Brazilian jungles for several thousand years.

As the “charcoal” withstands being broken down for long periods of time, modern soil scientists and farmers have realized Biochar could be the most effective way to sequester carbon out of the atmosphere, while adding to a soil’s fertility.  Most any material that contains carbon can be “cooked” to not only create a charcoal like product, but also the gases released during cooking process, pyrolysis, can be used as a substitute for fossil fuel. These two together have raised the specter that creating biochar out of waste carbonaceous material (agricultural wastes, etc) could be a major part of a long term solution to global warming, while adding to a soil’s fertility… READ MORE >>

Cap & Trade-smoke and mirrors?

I’ve read a couple of articles about cap and trade, and the authors seem to think it’s bogus.  Way too complicated. A boondoggle to make the same clever people who brought us the foreclosure bummer even richer.

Here’s Anne Leonard’s take on it.

The idea I like is to tax carbon, and lift taxes on income.  In this way, folks will be encouraged to take their savings and invest in renewable energy.  I cannot believe how happy newspaper stories report on increase fossil fuel production, or the good news about nuclear energy…What planet are these people living on???… READ MORE >>

Meltdowns and Other Impending Bummers

“Oh so many, ways to be wicked”
I woke this morning to the song playing in my head, Maria McKee and Lone Justice belting it out, my personal soundtrack….the Japanese Meltdown is in Day 6.

I call em Impending Bummers. When I think about doing something unknown, I can have a lot of apprehension, I can feel downright scared. I bite my finger nails, tear at my cuticles.

Maybe it’s the thousands of years of our collective worrying about getting eaten by a sabertooth tiger.  Or if Genghis Khan is going to show up in the spring this year…That may explain where the dread, this background anxiety, comes from. It certainly pushes me on a spiritual path in an attempt to find relief, but face it, as stewards of our amazing beautiful spinning green and blue planet, we suck…. READ MORE >>

SUSTAINABLE URBAN VILLAGE -turning SUVs into SUVS

Sustainable Urban Village is an odd phrase.

Sustainable Urban Village is a mash up of opposites. “Village” is pastoral, dreamy, idealistic, old fashioned, small and intimate. “Urban” conjures up pretty much the opposite-gritty, concrete and asphalt, contemporary, hip, huge and cold. Add “sustainable” to the mix, and it becomes ….an odd phrase. Where would one find such a creature? And what qualities will it embody?

As we contemplate where we’re going as a people and we feel the ground shifting under us as we transform from a car dominated sprawl lifestyle to a pedestrian friendly, ecologically sound, lowered consumptive way of life, I’m suggesting we pick and choose from the best options; incorporating best practices, and lessons learned of what works and what doesn’t, leaving those choices with harsh unintended consequences behind.

vida streetscape

Live, work, play, learn, shop, all within walking. Kids play, while you catchup with a friend!

“What works” for me, rolls into 5 principles; “Mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space……everywhere.” Another way to put it? Sustainable Urban Villages, and they are found…..everywhere.

It takes a certain number of residential to make commercial be successful.  These economies of scales hold true no mater where we live, in a rural setting, a grayfield, or in the suburbs. We will learn what works, what it takes to be sustainable. As we reinvent our economy, we will pick wisely, and base our investment in the future on the real, lasting values we hold collectively. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to live in balance with our earth.

Redeveloping ourselves sustainable is complicated and requires collaboration. We’re wired to innovate. As we rise to the greatest challenge humanity has ever known,  we will be amazing. Share your vision!

Together, we can bring forward the emerging sustainable economy, a lifestyle that is “Good for people, good for the planet, and good for the polar bears”.

Let’s make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

Hard Times, Impending Bummers, and Resilient Communities

As I was leaving Trader Joe’s parking lot today, I glanced at the homeless guy as he raised his cardboard sign.  I only caught the first word on his sign “hardtimes….”. For several blocks I mulled over going back and giving him some money.  I was also thinking of my friend, a metal worker, who was angry about a couple of recent bills for emergency doctor’s office visits; “Ten minutes, $250 and $325! And I have medical insurance!” he exclaimed several times, outraged. Turns out February is a slow month, and the go-go days of the construction industry seem long gone. He has a wife and two kids and pays $780 a month in health insurance ( up $45 as “he had a birthday” said the insurance company recently).Homeless

The recent unprecedented cold weather froze lots of pipes around town, and as a general contractor,  I got a month of good work putting a couple of condos back together.

All of these thoughts came together, precipitated by the homeless guy’s” hardtimes”, and reminded me of all the possible bummers we face;  Peak oil and rising gasoline demand worldwide, honey bee’s dying off en mass, fracking water contamination,… READ MORE >>

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